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Thursday, February 10, 2022
February 10, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:41 PM :: 2024 Views

Naming Names: Who Will Cullen and English Rat Out?

Bills would force landlords to accept Section 8 Tenants

Who's Overpaying for Cars--16 Hawaii Towns Compared

Hawaiian Electric hits 38% renewable energy in 2021

Former Hawaii lawmakers will keep at least half of their lifetime pensions--maybe all--after guilty plea

SA: … Former state Sen. J. Kalani English and former state Rep. Ty J.K. Cullen could lose half of their state pensions if convicted of federal bribery charges under a new law — and a review of Cullen’s voting record and introduction of bills this legislative session is now underway….

(CLUE: Key words are ‘could’ and ‘half’.)

It was hardly English’s first time getting caught behaving improperly as a state senator.

In 2005, English agreed to pay $1,000 to the state after taking free Hawaii Air Ambulance flights and accepting state-funded air coupons for interisland trips.

English failed to reimburse the state Senate in 2002 for at least two flight coupons. He also did not report the free flights on state ethics gift disclosure forms.

In the settlement, English admitted he took an unspecified number of flights between Oahu and Maui on Hawaii Air Ambulance. But he did not admit to any “willful misconduct” or “violation of statute.”…

Also, English’s 1988 guilty plea to a third-degree felony cocaine possession later ran afoul of 2016 state Health Department rules regarding application for a state license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary. English was part of a company applying for a license, but rules prohibited company members from having any felony convictions….

read … 'Former Hawaii lawmakers stand to lose half of their pensions if convicted of bribery'

HB1871:  House considers bill to relax gift rule as Latest Corruption Arrests Rock Legislature

KITV: … Common Cause Hawaii plans to submit testimony in strong opposition to House Bill 1871 bill, which aims to relax the rules when it comes to legislators accepting gifts by allowing things like gifts of aloha and foreign protocol gifts.

It's scheduled to be heard on Friday at 9:30 a.m. by the House Committee on Government Reform, along with another measure, House Bill 1475, which would require state employees to complete ethics training every four years.….

read … Hawaii House considers bill to relax gift rule

90% Say ‘Tip of Iceberg’ as English and Cullen plan to plead guilty, fully cooperate with Feds

KHON: … The attorneys for J. Kalani English and Ty Cullen said they are cooperating with federal investigators and will plead guilty to the charge of honest services wire fraud, not bribery.

The former lawmakers are accused of accepting thousands of dollars in bribes. The question now is whether their cooperation will lead to others being charged with a crime….

Federal investigators said English and Cullen took bribes with a combined total of more than $40,000 in cash as well as Las Vegas hotel rooms and chips from a casino in New Orleans. They were never arrested and were charged by information, which legal experts say usually means they’ve been cooperating with prosecutors.

“They’re providing historical information to provide government data and facts regarding the charges that they’re facing, or they have set up colleagues, either other legislators, or city council people, or other lawmakers,” said defense attorney Megan Kau, who is not involved in the case….

(CLUE: Be On The Lookout for any sudden resignations.)

… the House is also reviewing Cullen’s voting record on bills.  “We have begun to look at that, we’ve also looked at bills that were introduced this year, so we’re trying to piece things together,” said Saiki. ….

read … English and Cullen plan to plead guilty, fully cooperate with feds

Records: Company at center of legislative bribery scandal a big political donor

HNN: … The company at the center of the legislative bribery scandal has political connections far beyond the two politicians who have admitted to accepting bribes.

Hawaii News Now is not naming the company or its owner because they are not identified in the bribery case documents or charged with a crime.

But according to its website, the local industrial cleaning company has received several government contracts. That includes a $1 million job to sanitize Oahu’s buses.

State campaign spending records show that since 2014, company employees and officers, its owner and his relatives and related businesses and their workers have donated nearly $300,000 to more than 50 political candidates in Hawaii….

The political donations included $19,000 to former Maui state Sen. J. Kalani English and $11,000 to former Waipahu state Rep.Ty Cullen ― who were both charged on Tuesday with taking bribes from the owner’s company. Both will plead guilty next week….

Campaign finance experts said the access company officials received from their political donations likely provided them with the opportunity to bribe the lawmakers.

“It opens the doors ― you are now in their social circles. You are considered a trusted ally,” said retired judge and former prosecutor Randal Lee.

“Therefore the elected officials will let you in and you’ll have more freer access to the elected official.”

House Speaker Scott Saiki said a new law passed in the wake of the Kealoha scandal could be used to take away some of the lawmakers’ pension benefits after they are convicted….

read … Records: Company at center of legislative bribery scandal a big political donor

Lt. Gov. Josh Green is running for governor of Hawaii

KHON: … It is official. Lt. Gov. Josh Green announced on Thursday, Feb. 10, that he started his campaign for governor of Hawaii.

Our fight against COVID has shown me that more than ever we need elected leaders we can trust, who care about people,” Green said. “That’s why I’m running for governor.”

Green said his platform consisted of tackling issues that matter the most to the people of Hawaii:

  • Affordable housing
  • High cost of living
  • Homeless crisis
  • Continuing his efforts to build kauhale communities and H4 clinics to provide housing and care for those in need

HNN: ‘We need leaders we can trust’: Green makes his run for governor official  

SA: 3 major Democrats run for Hawaii governor, 4th mulls race  

HTH: It’s official: Josh Green is running for governor

read … Lt. Gov. Josh Green is running for governor of Hawaii

Mafia News: Kahele Hints Strongly At 2022 Run For Hawaii Governor

CB: … U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele, who has represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District for barely a year, indicated on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser “Spotlight” program Wednesday that he is seriously considering entering the contest.

Voters (Mafiosos) across the state, he said, are “not excited” about Lt. Gov. Josh Green….

“I keep hearing things over and over and over, and it’s that people are not happy with the direction the state is heading in, that it reaffirms my belief we are drifting right now as a state and need to put some wind into our sails,” he said. “We need to infuse new leadership into our government, we need to restore the public’s trust, and ultimately we need to have a leader that can inspire people, give people hope and provide a strategic vision and direction for the state of Hawaii. It is one of the reasons that I am so giving serious thought to this.”…

(Translation: Too many of the boys are getting arrested.)

Kahele did not say when he would make a decision on whether to run.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said several times on “Spotlight,” asking voters to also “stay tuned.” And he invoked his late father, former state Sen. Gil Kahele, who he said always told him to help people and “you go where the people want you to go. And that’s what I’m going to do. So more to come. Mahalo.”

Should Kahele enter the governor’s race, it is sure to bring intense scrutiny to his campaign. It would also result in new elections to replace him in D.C….

SA VIDEO: U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele joins the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s ‘Spotlight Hawaii’

MN: Kahele visits Cameron Center

read … Kahele Hints Strongly At 2022 Run For Hawaii Governor

Upset About The Corruption Charges? What Are You Going To Do About It?

CB: … the new charges are just the latest in a string of investigations that have tarred Hawaii’s ruling Democratic Party. As the accusations pile up, it becomes ever more difficult for Democrats to credibly claim that each new mess is an “isolated incident.”…

In other states, this kind of parade of public figures being accused of wrongdoing or outright criminal conduct might have real political implications. People might vote for a different party, or vote out the incumbents.

But in Hawaii today, that isn’t terribly likely, said Neal Milner, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Hawaii Manoa.

“There will be a lot of comments like ‘They’re all corrupt,’ and all of those sorts of things, but the issue is whether that translates into any changing of votes,” Milner said.

The problem is the Hawaii Republican Party is “so bereft of candidates,” ….

read … Upset About The Corruption Charges? What Are You Going To Do About It?

Teams prepare to move first wave of displaced military families back home

HNN: …  The military is hoping for the go-ahead from the state as early as Friday to move 135 families back into their homes in the Red Hill neighborhood.

A Navy spokesman says rapid response teams are preparing to help.

After flushing and testing, a multi-agency team made up of the Navy, Army, state Department of Health and EPA recommended the DOH lift the advisory for Red Hill ― one of 19 communities covered by the guidance….

CB: Unindicted Hawaii Lawmakers Tell Navy To Stop Playing ‘Legal Games’ With Red Hill

read … Teams prepare to move first wave of displaced military families back home

Experts Say HPD Report Fails To Review Tactics Used In Deadly 2020 Standoff

CB: … HPD increased training following the Hibiscus Drive shooting but did not update its policies….

read … Experts Say HPD Report Fails To Review Tactics Used In Deadly 2020 Standoff

Officials: Hilo’s sewage plant in danger of failure that could trigger environmental disaster

HNN: … Officials at Hilo’s Wastewater Treatment Plant warn the facility is in danger of complete failure, saying if the plant goes down it could trigger an environmental disaster.

Hawaii County says it urgently needs $100 million to replace the facility.

“The facility is old,” said Jason Imamura, the plant’s operations supervisor. “You never know what’s going to happen.”

“All the motors (on the valve actuators) are shot,” he said. “If this continues to corrode. This (grit tank) wall might cave in.”…

Some machinery is completely inoperable. Much of what does work is antiquated and constantly breaking. “A lot of the parts are obsolete already,” he said.

The equipment is so dilapidated a survey done last year by an independent environmental engineering agency found 95% of it either needed to be replaced or had significant defects.

“I think it could happen anytime. A worst-case scenario,” Imamura said.

If the plant were to fail, officials say 3 million gallons of sewage a day would spill into the ocean less than a mile offshore through a pipe in Keaukaha.

Imamura says for more than a decade problems were repeatedly reported to the county.

“It’s something that didn’t happen overnight,” he said.

“Money was pretty much always the issue. We have put together a priority list for things that need to be fixed and replaced here and we were told to re-prioritize your priority list. Many times.”…

Hawaii Island Mayor Mitch Roth also accompanied HNN on the tour.

“The other day we had a sewage spill,” he said.

The cause: an electrical short in one of the pumps. In just four minutes, 8,600 gallons of partially treated sewage was released into the ocean.

“We have a situation here where we have to act,” Roth said.

HNN asked why the facility was allowed to get to its current condition. Roth responded, “I am not sure. But this administration, we’re taking ownership.” …

(Translation: ‘Billy Kenoi’)

read … Officials: Hilo’s sewage plant in danger of failure that could trigger environmental disaster

From 2020 to 2021 Hawaii residents increased their alcohol consumption by 23 percent: Study

KHON: … Most states across the country saw a dramatic decrease in alcohol consumption between 10 – 20%. However, Hawaii saw the opposite.

According to the study, from 2020 to 2021 Hawaii increased alcohol consumption by 23%.

They broke down how many alcoholic drinks one person estimated to have from 2020 to 2021.

In Hawaii, they said the average drinker had 520 drinks in 2020 and 639 in 2021. ….

read … From 2020 to 2021 Hawaii residents increased their alcohol consumption by 23 percent: Study

Hawaii Justice: How a Child Molester gets Away with it

HLN:  … Victoria Satoafaiga was indicted with sexual assault in the third degree, sexual assault in the first degree by way of penetration, attempted sexual assault in the 3d degree, and custodial interference. She reached a plea agreement. Satoafaiga pleaded no contest to the amended charge of sexual assault in the fourth degree and custodial interference as charged. All other counts were dismissed. The circuit court—the Hon. Judge Rhonda I. L. Loo presiding—ordered a presentence investigation and report. Satoafaiga moved to defer her no contest plea.

At the hearing, the circuit court denied the motion. The circuit court reviewed the PSI report and made several comments about the case on the record. The circuit court noted that Satoafaiga was in a position of trust when she committed the offenses. She was a counselor at the Boys and Girls Club and was twice the age of the complainant. The circuit court commented, “I think everything you did to her, besides the digital penetration and the custodial interference . . . I mean, talk about a negative influence on a child.” The circuit court also noted that this was not an isolated event. In the time leading up to the offenses, Satoafaiga and the complainant sent thousands of text messages to each other. Then the circuit court made this comment:

But this was more than text messaging. It was penetration with a finger to a vagina. And the problem is, is that inappropriate text messaging might be a few messages here and there, or maybe even a couple of messages here and there, but 15,978 messages were exchanged. . . . it means there was an exchange going on between the two of you. So talk about some inappropriate behavior.

The circuit court reviewed Satoafaiga’s letter and also found that she was not taking responsibility for what she had done. The circuit court denied the motion to defer he plea and sentenced her. Satoafaiga pointed out that she did not plead to the felony and this was a misdemeanor for sexual assault in the fourth degree. The circuit court acknowledged that but still commented that “it still occurred at the Boys & Girls club, I think in the upper room. This inappropriate activity between you and the juvenile, you and the minor did happen. It happened.”

The circuit court imposed one year of imprisonment. Satoafaiga appealed. The ICA affirmed….

(Then the State Supreme Court stepped in to save the perp….)

read … State Courts in Action

New Trick to Gut Seed Industry: Environmentalists threaten to sue state, county over claims of polluting harbor on Kauai

HNN: … Earthjustice said the state Department of Health and the county do not have the required federal permit for the drainage into Kikiaola Harbor. The organization said the ditch system stretches 40 miles along the West Kauai coast and drains into an area popular among fishermen and surfers….

(Translation: They are again trying to shut down the seed industry.)

TGI: Groups put county, state on notice for Westside ditch draining

read … Environmentalists threaten to sue state, county over claims of polluting harbor on Kauai

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